Lights on in Lincolnshire
FIA European Championships, Rd.2 PFI, 16/20 May 2018
A timely switch turned on the lights for Chris during Round 2 of the European Championship. After a disappointing run in Friday afternoon’s Timed Qualifying session when he finished 31st overall, Chris decided to switch onto his second chassis for the following day’s heats. The wisdom of this decision became immediately apparent as he “went purple” with the fastest lap on his way to an impressive 5th place finish.
A steady drive in Heat 2 was rewarded by 6th position, another good result for him coming off grid 11. He took 8th spot next time out and then duplicated this result in the following two heats. Those performances were good enough to earn Chris 18th place on the grid for Sunday’s “A” Final.
Once the chassis swap had been made, Chris showed that he was quick enough to compete on equal terms with the top drivers. In these competitions, though, it’s hard work when you are starting from midfield positions in the heats and he did well not to incur any bumper penalties.”
The final was contested over 22 laps under Sunday afternoon’s scorching sun. The pace was pretty hot, too, as pole-sitter Mattia Michelotto took an early lead closely followed by Hannes Janker and Lorenzo Travisanutto. Chris held 18th position on the opening lap just behind Harry Thompson.
Initially, the two British drivers appeared to be making little progress, but just before quarter distance Chris replaced Harry to take over 16th place. In another couple of laps he’d improved to 12th but his next target, Andrea Rosso, was 30 yards or so further up the road. Danny Keirle was leading the race at this stage, but Chris only had eyes for Rosso as he gradually closed the gap.
Eighteen laps had been completed before he managed to overtake the Italian before nipping past Callum Bradshaw for 10th place. In a mad dash for the finish line, he picked up another three spots to claim 7th. PFI was the scene of his outstanding 2017 World Junior Championship success when he finished 2nd. On this occasion, Chris proved that he poses a significant threat to the world’s top senior drivers. He now lies 9th in the overall championship standings.
Hannes Janker won the final at PF but it wasn’t quite good enough to earn him top spot in the championship table. This honour belongs to Pedro Hiltbrand who finished 3rd at PF behind David Vidales.
Chris would like to thank Forza Racing, Steve Armstrong and GFR engines for all their help, support and encouragement.